photography: Courtesy of L.L. Bean

photography: Courtesy of L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean explores working outdoors

Nature is good for your health, even when at work. At least that’s the premise behind one major retailer’s efforts to reintroduce the natural world into its employees’ workday. 

Maine-based L.L. Bean recently partnered with workplace strategy expert Leigh Stringer to poll its employees on their attitudes toward being outdoors. The L.L. Bean 2018 Work and the Outdoors Survey found 87 percent of indoor workers consider themselves someone who enjoys the outdoors, but 75 percent rarely or never take time to work outside. 

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In fact, 57 percent of indoor workers spend less than half an hour outside during the work day. The biggest hurdles to going outdoors? Job responsibilities (65 percent) weather (42 percent) and housework (33 percent).

The survey results led the 107-year-old retailer to roll out a dramatic outdoor workspace experiment, “Be An Outsider at Work.” But experts say employees can benefit from less-drastic measures. Among these are having a patio area with tables, chairs and umbrellas; equipping the company’s outdoor area with Wi-Fi, power outlets and anti-glare screens; letting employees reserve the patio area for meetings and scheduling walking meetings.